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Employees & Officials

Either I or a family member may have a financial interest in a decision that I must make at work

Sections 1102 and 1103(a) of the State Ethics Act and Section 20-607 of the City Ethics Code prohibit you from making any decision or taking any action as a City employee that could affect your or your family’s financial interests. This could relate to:

  • legislation
  • the awarding of contracts
  • decisions relating to the use of City property
  • consideration of applications
  • the awarding of licenses
  • the enforcement of City codes or rules
  • decisions relating to litigation
  • or just about any other decision

You must disclose the conflict of interest and disqualify yourself from any involvement in the decision before the decision is made or action is taken.

For conflicts of interest that involve legislation.

Council Members
Section 20-608(a) of the City Ethics Code requires Council members to disclose any legislative conflict of interest at the scheduled public hearing of that legislation. If the conflict of interest arises after the public hearing and more than five days before the legislation is to be acted upon, Council members must disclose the conflict in writing, by registered or certified mail, to the Chief Clerk of the Council and all members of the Council. If the conflict of interest arises less than five days before the legislation is to be acted upon, the member must announce his/her interest publicly on the floor of the Council in public session.

Other City Employees/Officials
Section 20-608(b) of the City Ethics Code requires all other City employees/officials to disclose any legislative conflict of interest in writing, by registered or certified mail, to the Chief Clerk of the Council and every member of the Council at least five days before the public hearing on the legislation. If the interest occurs after the public hearing, the City employee/official must notify the Chief Clerk of the Council and every member of the Council in writing, by registered or certified mail, before the time of the Council meeting when action is to be taken upon the legislation.

A notification letter must contain:

  • A statement that the letter is written to disclose a potential conflict of interest;
  • The member’s/employee’s/official’s public position and duties relevant to the conflict;
  • The member’s/employee’s/official’s financial interest, or that of his/her family, that presents the conflict;
  • A description of how the member’s/employee’s/official’s official duties might intersect with his/her private interest, or that of his/her family member; and
  • The member’s/employee’s/official’s intention to disqualify himself/herself from any official action involving the potential conflict of interest.

Sections 1102 and 1103(a) of the State Ethics Act also prohibit financial conflicts of interest between a City official (or his/her immediate family member or business) and the official’s exercise of official action. The disclosure and disqualification procedure above would address this prohibition as well.

Here’s a sample letter you can use to report the potential conflict:

If in doubt, seek advice from the Ethics Board before you act.

For conflicts of interest that involve any award, contract, lease, case, claim, decree or judgment other than legislation.

Section 20-608(c) of the City Ethics Code requires all City officials, employees and Council members to disclose any non-legislative conflict of interest in writing, by registered or certified mail, to the Commissioner, Secretary and/or Executive Director of the pertinent agency authority, board or commission, as well as the Board of Ethics and the Department of Records, before any action is taken. In the event of a conflict of interest within a department or by a department head under the Mayor’s authority, notice must be provided by registered or certified mail, to the Mayor, the Managing Director, the Board of Ethics, and the Department of Records, before any action is taken. Non-legislative conflicts of interest include:

  • Awards
  • Leases
  • Cases
  • Claims
  • Decisions
  • Decrees
  • Judgments

A notification letter must contain:

  • A statement that the letter is written to disclose a potential conflict of interest;
  • The employee’s/official’s public position and duties relevant to the conflict;
  • The employee’s/official’s financial interest, or that of his/her family, that presents the conflict;
  • A description of how the employee’s/official’s official duties might intersect with his/her private interest, or that of his/her family member; and
  • The employee’s/official’s intention to disqualify himself/herself from any official action involving the potential conflict of interest.

Sections 1102 and 1103(a) of the State Ethics Act also prohibit financial conflicts of interest between a City official (or his/her immediate family member or business) and the official’s exercise of official action. The disclosure and disqualification procedure above would address this prohibition as well.

Here’s a sample letter you can use to report the potential conflict. If in doubt, seek advice from the Ethics Board before you act.

How Do I Handle...

IntegrityWorks offers guidance for commonly-occurring situations. These are not the only situations in which ethics rules would apply; they are simply the most common ones. Other guidance may be added to this site as situations warrant.

These are general guidelines. Because each situation presents its own set of facts, this general guidance isn’t advice on which you can legally rely. If you want to be absolutely sure that your conduct complies with applicable ethics laws, you should seek advice before taking action.